The Giving Temple

Amritha Mandagondi
Dec 02, 2023

Summary: In a recent circle that stirred up nuanced elements in our intentions for generosity -- sharing versus performing and so much more -- I was reminded of this beautiful parable of two brothers who want the best for each other which my father shared with me when I was a teenager.

Himshek Kumar | Unsplash
Last evening at Awakin Santa Clara, we had the ever shining Brian Conroy lead us into questions on intention, giving and more... One of those moments reminded me of a story that our father shared when my brother and I were in high school. I'm not a great writer or a storyteller like our friend, Brian, so I digged online to find the story that was spelled for me to share with you here...I'm going to call it, "The Giving Temple":
"There was a man who cleared one hundred acres of forest and made it into a farmland. His two sons helped him and they became prosperous. When the man was dying, he called his two sons and told them that the land should never be divided, but the produce should be taken equally, fifty percent, by each son.

Accordingly, they went by their father’s word. One of the brothers got married and had five children. The other one never got married. Life went on and they each took fifty percent. One day, a worm entered the mind of the brother who had a wife and five children. He thought ‘I’m getting fifty percent; my brother is also getting fifty percent. I have a wife and five children. My brother has nobody. When he gets old, who will take care of him? He should have a little more than me because I have the wealth of my children. But he is too proud; he will not take it from me.’ So in the dark of the night, he carried a bagful of grain quietly and walked into his brother’s store, dropped this bag and walked back. Whenever he could, he went on doing this.

The same worm entered his brother’s mind. He thought, ‘I am alone, my brother has five children to feed and I am getting fifty percent, but if I give him extra, he will not take it.’ So he started doing the same thing at night. This went on for many years and both of them never noticed. One night, both of the brothers carrying sacks of grains in secrecy walked towards each other’s storehouse and came face to face. Suddenly, they realized what was happening. They looked away from each other, it was too embarrassing, and dropped the grain and went back to bed. After a few years, they passed away. The town’s people wanted to build a temple and went all over looking for a site. Then they decided on this place, where these two brothers met and felt embarrassed about their giving. They thought this would be the best place to build a temple.

So, if you are giving and you are embarrassed about your giving, you have built a temple in the place where you are right now."

This some say is a true story, and so I'm happy that we live in a land where there is secrecy in giving and openness in receiving. This is just another story of "The Giving Temple". :)

Originally posted on ServiceSpace blog

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